Meals on Wheels Rockland presents “boot camp”for seniors


On Thursday, March 21, approximately 120 Rockland seniors enlisted in boot camp—Meals on Wheels Bootcamp, that is. Hosted by Dominican University’s Hennessy Center, put on by Meals on Wheels of Rockland, and funded in part by the Rockland County Office of the Aging, this special event encourages seniors from all four senior activity centers to get active by presenting them with 10 activities—each designed with the purpose of stretching their bodies and minds.

“(Meals on Wheels Senior Activity Centers) are a program we have in addition to our home delivery program, which is what most people think of us for where we deliver 800 meals a day to people who are homebound.” explained the organization’s Marketing and Communications specialist Beth Coleman. “But these are their counterparts that are not homebound, yet need somewhere to socialize, keep active, and get a hot meal every day…This event is about trying to do things for their mind, body, and soul, while also having fun.”

Having fun was the name of the game at Thursday’s event, which was the first bootcamp held since the onset of the 2020 pandemic. The event previously ran from 2012 to 2019.

This year, 28 vendors were present to entertain the seniors and help them with mental and physical agility. A large mix of staff and volunteers—including the Dominican University baseball team—were present to facilitate the games, which included cup stacking, soccer kicking, and even a game of “Flickin’ Chicken,” where seniors threw a rubber chicken into a hoop. After each activity, seniors were given special stars to collect on their lanyards, simulating a “bootcamp” experience.

The event also included an appearance by a Richard Simmons impersonator and a performance by all-senior musical group The Music Makers.

“It’s the movement, it’s the socialization, it’s seeing people from the other center and vendors” Coleman said, when asked why this Bootcamp event was so important for Meals on Wheels Rockland seniors. “It’s a big outing…They also helped fundraise for this, so they’re so proud of that—to help the homebound seniors. I think they’re just excited to be together.”

“One of the most important things for people when they get older is to not be isolated,” added Kevin Hardy, CEO of Meals on Wheels in Rockland. “We find that when we deliver meals, one of the more important things that we do is that human interaction, to make sure they’re okay…This gets them out in public and makes them happy.”

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